As neat as small Unmanned Aerial Systems (sUAS) can be, they don't fare well in incremental weather. Gusts of wind can knock a small drone off course, and variations in temperature can cause the smallish drones to overheat, to ice over or to just not start.
It's a problem which confronts emergency, government and security agencies looking to do surveillance for a variety of reasons in a variety of climates. And that's where the Aeryon SkyRanger comes into play.
The SkyRanger is a new sUAS quadcopter designed by Aeryon Labs - which has made small, rugged, drones in the past - and promises to take off and operate in conditions that just aren't feasible for most other drones.
The SkyRanger can take off and land vertically, promising to fly in sustained winds of 40mph and power through gusts of 55mph. Add in its ability to operate in a temperature range from -22 to 122 degrees fahrenheit, and you have a platform which can operate in nearly any environment - indoor or outdoor - for nearly any situation.
"The Aeryon sUAS platform is the most mature, reliable, and capable system available on the market. With the Aeryon SkyRanger we are again setting a new benchmark for system reliability and integration, flight endurance and performance, and advanced functionality while maintaining operator ease-of-use" Dave Kroetsch, Aeryon's President said in a prepared statement. "The Aeryon Scout remains an important part of Aeryon's product line - a high performance system at an attractive price point for public safety and commercial customers."
The sUAS come pre-assembled - reaching 40 inches in diameter when flight ready - a 1080p camera which can record at 30 frames per second and take 15 megapixel stills, a smaller infra-red 640x480 camera, an operator touchscreen for easy flight planning, and an aircraft which can operate for up to 50 minutes with a payload.
The cameras, stabilized in the sUAV's gimble, can transmit a signal over a low-latency 256-bit encrypted network from over 3.1 miles away.
There's no price on the device yet, and military and government agencies get priority over their civilian counterparts. But expect to see more drones of this type - especially with longer lasting batteries and sUAVs with less environmental limits - hitting the civilian market soon as small drones become more common.